Einsiedeln, Switzerland
Einsiedeln is a municipality
Municipalities of Switzerland
Communes , also known as municipalities, are the smallest government division in Switzerland, numbering 2,596 . While many have a population of a few hundred citizens, the largest cities such as Zürich or Geneva also have the legal status of municipalities...

 and district in the canton
Cantons of Switzerland
The 26 cantons of Switzerland are the member states of the federal state of Switzerland. Each canton was a fully sovereign state with its own borders, army and currency from the Treaty of Westphalia until the establishment of the Swiss federal state in 1848...

 of Schwyz
Canton of Schwyz
Schwyz is a canton in central Switzerland between the Alps in the south, Lake Lucerne in the east and Lake Zurich in the north, centered around and named after the town of Schwyz....

 in Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 known for its monastery, the Benedictine Einsiedeln Abbey
Einsiedeln Abbey
Einsiedeln Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in the town of Einsiedeln in the Canton of Schwyz, Switzerland. The abbey is dedicated to Our Lady of the Hermits, the title being derived from the circumstances of its foundation, from which the name Einsiedeln is also said to have originated...

. Einsiedeln is also the birthplace of Paracelsus
Paracelsus was a German-Swiss Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and general occultist....

, a Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 physician and alchemist
Alchemy is an influential philosophical tradition whose early practitioners’ claims to profound powers were known from antiquity. The defining objectives of alchemy are varied; these include the creation of the fabled philosopher's stone possessing powers including the capability of turning base...

 who is credited with first naming zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...


Prehistoric Einsiedeln

Archaeologists have discovered numerous artifacts from the stone age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

 and the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 in the Einsiedeln area. However, it appears from these artifacts, some of which are about 12,000 years old, that the area was thickly wooded and only used by hunters. Until the Early Middle Ages
Early Middle Ages
The Early Middle Ages was the period of European history lasting from the 5th century to approximately 1000. The Early Middle Ages followed the decline of the Western Roman Empire and preceded the High Middle Ages...

 there were no permanent settlements in the area.

Saint Meinrad

St. Meinrad
Meinrad of Einsiedeln
Saint Meinrad was a hermit and a Roman Catholic saint.Meinrad was born into the family of the Counts of Hohenzollern and was educated at the abbey school of Reichenau, an island in Lake Constance, under his kinsmen Abbots Hatto and Erlebald. There he became a monk and was ordained...

, of the family of the Counts of Hohenzollern
House of Hohenzollern
The House of Hohenzollern is a noble family and royal dynasty of electors, kings and emperors of Prussia, Germany and Romania. It originated in the area around the town of Hechingen in Swabia during the 11th century. They took their name from their ancestral home, the Burg Hohenzollern castle near...

, a Benedictine monk from Reichenau Island
Reichenau Island
Reichenau Island lies in Lake Constance in southern Germany, at approximately . It lies between Gnadensee and Untersee, two parts of Lake Constance, almost due west of the city of Konstanz. The island is connected to the mainland by a causeway that was completed in 1838...

 in Lake Constance
Lake Constance
Lake Constance is a lake on the Rhine at the northern foot of the Alps, and consists of three bodies of water: the Obersee , the Untersee , and a connecting stretch of the Rhine, called the Seerhein.The lake is situated in Germany, Switzerland and Austria near the Alps...

 on the German/Swiss border came to the region in 835 seeking isolation. He established his hermit
A hermit is a person who lives, to some degree, in seclusion from society.In Christianity, the term was originally applied to a Christian who lives the eremitic life out of a religious conviction, namely the Desert Theology of the Old Testament .In the...

age on the slopes of Mt. Etzel. When he arrived in the area, he had with him a wonder-working statue of the Virgin Mary which he had been given by the Abbess Hildegarde of Zurich. Near his hermitage, he established a small shrine to house the statue, which became a small pilgrimage site. According to legend he died in 861 at the hands of two robbers, Richard and Peter, who coveted the treasures offered at the shrine by pilgrims. The robbers were then followed by two ravens into town and drew attention to them with loud squawking. This is the reason, for the two ravens on the village flag
A flag is a piece of fabric with a distinctive design that is usually rectangular and used as a symbol, as a signaling device, or decoration. The term flag is also used to refer to the graphic design employed by a flag, or to its depiction in another medium.The first flags were used to assist...


During the next eighty years Saint Meinrad's hermitage was never without one or more hermits emulating his example. One of the hermits, named Eberhard, previously Provost of Strasburg, erected a monastery and church there, of which he became first abbot. Work on the monastery is said to have begun in 934. Following a miraculous vision by Eberhard, the new church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Growth of the town

While the town of Einsiedeln is first mentioned in 1073, monastery and the area around were settled earlier. At the time of the foundation of the Abbey, the local hunters and small farmers of the forest, placed themselves under the authority of the noble-born Abbot. The surrounding population was known as Waldleute (forest people) because of the forests around the Abbey. The Abbey encouraged the Waldleute to settle in surrounding villages and begin farming. The alpine valleys were used to raise cattle, which became increasingly more important to the village. By 1250 the major business in the village was breeding and raising cattle. Expansion of grazing land into nearby alpine valleys led to a two century conflict with Schwyz.

As early as 1100, the villages of Einsiedeln and Schwyz were in conflict over land near the two Mythen mountains. Over the following century, conflicts over the land led to many court battles and actual battles. In 1173 when the Habsburgs gained rights over the village of Schwyz and in 1283 when they raised the Abbey to an independent principality under the Habsburgs, this raised a local conflict into a regional one. The Habsburgs were able to quiet the conflict for a few years, until 1291 when Schwyz, Uri
Canton of Uri
Uri is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland and a founding member of the Swiss Confederation. It is located in Central Switzerland. The canton's territory covers the valley of the Reuss River between Lake Lucerne and the St. Gotthard Pass. German is the primary language spoken in Uri...

 and Unterwalden
Unterwalden is the old name of a forest-canton of the Old Swiss Confederacy in central Switzerland, south of Lake Lucerne, consisting of two valleys or Talschaften, now organized as two half-cantons, an upper part, Obwalden, and a lower part, Nidwalden.Unterwalden was one of the three participants...

 revolted against the Habsburgs
Federal Charter of 1291
The Federal Charter or Letter of Alliance documents the Eternal Alliance or League Of The Three Forest Cantons , the union of three cantons in what is now central Switzerland. It is dated in early August, 1291 and initiates the current August 1 national Swiss holiday. This agreement cites a...

. In 1314 the conflict flared up again with an attack by Schwyz into Einsiedeln. This attack triggered a series of border raids that, along with other events, in 1315 led to a Habsburg invasion and their crushing defeat at the Battle of Morgarten
Battle of Morgarten
The Battle of Morgarten occurred on November 15, 1315, when a Swiss Confederation force of 1,500 infantry archers ambushed a group of Austrian soldiers of the Holy Roman Empire near the Morgarten Pass...

. It wasn't until 1350 that the conflict was resolved and the borders between Einsiedeln and Schwyz were fixed.

In 1394 the Abbey came under the protection of Schwyz and the rights of high justice went over to Schwyz. Low justice though remained with the Abbey. In 1399 the Drei Teile (lit. Three parts-a council that included the Abbey, the Waldleute from the surrounding villages and Schwyz) is first mentioned. Initially the Drei Teile only addressed any issues that affected the free Waldleute. In 1564 they were able to issue a binding ordinance for all three groups. In 1657 the Drei Teile changed its name to the "Session".

The relationship between the three parties was not always smooth. In 1764, an attempt by the Abbot to require tradesmen to only practice their trade in Einsiedeln and preventing skilled workers from settling in among the Waldleute led to open conflict. Schwyz supported the Abbey against the Waldleute and in 1766 crushed the revolt. However, the Abbey lost a lot of independence and thereafter was treated more as a subject of Schwyz instead of a partner.

During Napoleon's
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

Switzerland in the Napoleonic era
During the French Revolutionary Wars, the revolutionary armies marched eastward, enveloping Switzerland in their battles against Austria. In 1798 Switzerland was completely overrun by the French and became the Helvetic Republic. The Helvetic Republic encountered severe economic and political problems...

 of Switzerland in 1798, the Abbey was suppressed for about three years and the land was added to the city of Schwyz. Following the collapse of the post-invasion Helvetic Republic
Helvetic Republic
In Swiss history, the Helvetic Republic represented an early attempt to impose a central authority over Switzerland, which until then consisted mainly of self-governing cantons united by a loose military alliance, and conquered territories such as Vaud...

, in 1803 as part of the Act of Mediation
Act of Mediation
The Act of Mediation was issued by Napoleon Bonaparte on 19 February 1803 establishing the Swiss Confederation. The act also abolished the previous Helvetic Republic, which had existed since the invasion of Switzerland by French troops in 1798. After the withdrawal of French troops in July 1802,...

 Einsiedeln became a Bezirk
Districts of Switzerland
In contrast to centrally organised states, in the federally constituted Switzerland each canton iscompletely free to decide its own internal organisation. Therefore there exists a variety of structures and terminology for the subnational entities between canton and municipality, loosely termed...

 (or District) in the Canton of Schwyz. During the Restoration
Restauration (Switzerland)
The periods of Restoration and Regeneration in Swiss history last from 1814 to 1847. "Restoration" refers to the period of 1814 to 1830, the restoration of the Ancien Régime , reverting the changes imposed by Napoleon Bonaparte with the centralist Helvetic Republic from 1798 and the partial...

 starting in 1815, the Abbey's power began to grow in the Canton. A desire for reform lead the Districts of March
March (district)
March District is a district in Canton of Schwyz, Switzerland. The coat of arms of the district is gules, an annulet sable — a black ring on a red background...

, Küssnacht
Küssnacht am Rigi is a district and municipality in the canton of Schwyz in Switzerland, consisting of three villages: Küssnacht, Immensee and Merlischachen...

 and Pfäffikon
Pfäffikon, Schwyz
Pfäffikon is the principal town of the Municipality of Freienbach in canton Schwyz in Switzerland. Together with Wollerau, Pfäffikon is considered the principal town of the borough Höfe and the center of the region of Ausserschwyz. The former farm town is known today as cultural, economic and...

 to declare themselves Kanton Schwyz äusseres Land (Canton of Schwyz, Outer Lands) with a liberal constitution in 1832. The Abbey stood on the side of the conservative faction in the Canton, which caused tense relations between them and the surrounding villages until the creation of the Federal State
Switzerland as a federal state
The rise of Switzerland as a federal state began on September 12, 1848, with the creation of a federal constitution, which was created in response to a 27-day civil war in Switzerland, the Sonderbundskrieg...

 in 1848


Einsiedeln is made up of six localities: Bennau, Egg, Willerzell, Euthal, Gross and Trachslau. The village of Biberbrugg
Biberbrugg is a village in the canton of Schwyz in Switzerland. Biberbrugg is shared by the municipalities of Einsiedeln in the district of Einsiedeln and Feusisberg in the district of Höfe.- History :...

 is shared with the municipality of Feusisberg
Feusisberg is a municipality in Höfe District in the canton of Schwyz in Switzerland.-History:Feusisberg is first mentioned in the 13th Century as Berg and Uffenberg. In the 16th Century it was known as Fessisskilch and in 1590 it was mentioned as Föussisberg.-Geography:Feusisberg has an area, , of...

. Einsiedeln has a total area of 99.1 km² (38.3 sq mi), of which nearly half (47.1%) is agricultural and only slightly less (44.5%) is forested. The rest of the land is either settled (5.5%) or non-productive (less than 2.8%). Einsiedeln is located approximately 7.5 km (4.7 mi) of the southern end of the Lake of Zurich, up a plateau (ca. 880 m (2,887.1 ft) above sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

) and situated near the artificial mountain lake Sihlsee
The Sihlsee is an artificial lake near Einsiedeln in the Canton of Schwyz, Switzerland.- Geography :...

. The town is located at an altitude of 470 m (1,542 ft) higher than Zurich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

, with which it has a railway connection.

Einsiedeln is also the capital and only municipality of the District of Einsiedeln.


Einsiedeln has a population (as of ) of . , 13.4% of the population was made up of foreign nationals. Over the last 10 years the population has grown at a rate of 14.8%. Most of the population speaks German (92.3%), with Serbo-Croatian being second most common ( 1.9%) and Albanian being third ( 1.4%).

the gender distribution of the population was 50.4% male and 49.6% female. The age distribution, , in Einsiedeln is; 3,211 people or 25.4% of the population is between 0 and 19. 3,628 people or 28.7% are 20 to 39, and 3,964 people or 31.4% are 40 to 64. The senior population distribution is 1,009 people or 8.0% are 65 to 74. There are 609 people or 4.8% who are 70 to 79 and 201 people or 1.59% of the population who are over 80. There is one person in Einsiedeln who is over 100 years old.

there are 5,093 households, of which 1,649 households (or about 32.4%) contain only a single individual. 347 or about 6.8% are large households, with at least five members.

In the 2007 election the most popular party was the SVP
Swiss People's Party
The Swiss People's Party , also known as the Democratic Union of the Centre , is a conservative political party in Switzerland. Chaired by Toni Brunner, but spearheaded by Christoph Blocher, the party is the largest party in the Federal Assembly, with 58 members of the National Council and 6 of...

 which received 43.5% of the vote. The next three most popular parties were the CVP
Christian Democratic People's Party of Switzerland
The Christian Democratic People's Party of Switzerland is a Christian democratic political party in Switzerland. It is the fourth-largest party in the National Council, with 31 seats, and the largest in the Council of States, with 15 seats. It has one seat, that of Doris Leuthard, on the Swiss...

 (18.8%), the FDP
Free Democratic Party of Switzerland
The Free Democratic Party was a classical liberal political party in Switzerland. It was one of the major parties in Switzerland until its merger with the smaller classical liberal Liberal Party, to form FDP.The Liberals on 1 January 2009....

 (17.7%) and the SPS
Social Democratic Party of Switzerland
The Social Democratic Party of Switzerland is the largest centre-left political party in Switzerland....


The entire Swiss population is generally well educated. In Einsiedeln about 66% of the population (between age 25-64) have completed either non-mandatory upper secondary education or additional higher education (either university or a Fachhochschule
A Fachhochschule or University of Applied Sciences is a German type of tertiary education institution, sometimes specialized in certain topical areas . Fachhochschulen were founded in Germany and later adopted by Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Greece...


Einsiedeln has an unemployment rate of 1.29%. , there were 551 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 209 businesses involved in this sector. 1,630 people are employed in the secondary sector and there are 199 businesses in this sector. 3,017 people are employed in the tertiary sector, with 486 businesses in this sector.

From the , 9,834 or 77.9% are Roman Catholic, while 1,240 or 9.8% belonged to the Swiss Reformed Church
Swiss Reformed Church
The Reformed branch of Protestantism in Switzerland was started in Zürich by Huldrych Zwingli and spread within a few years to Basel , Bern , St...

. Of the rest of the population, there are less than 5 individuals who belong to the Christian Catholic
Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland
The Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland is the Swiss member church of the Union of Utrecht, also known as Old Catholic Church, originally founded by the jansenists, with a later influx of discontented Catholics following their disappointment with the First Vatican Council. It has 14,000...

 faith, there are 288 individuals (or about 2.28% of the population) who belong to the Orthodox Church, and there are 5 individuals (or about 0.04% of the population) who belong to another Christian church. There are 332 (or about 2.63% of the population) who are Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic. There are 106 individuals (or about 0.84% of the population) who belong to another church (not listed on the census), 486 (or about 3.85% of the population) belong to no church, are agnostic
Agnosticism is the view that the truth value of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims—is unknown or unknowable....

 or atheist
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

, and 329 individuals (or about 2.61% of the population) did not answer the question.

Historic population

The historical population is given in the following table:
year population
1799 4,958
1850 6,821
1880 8,383
1900 8,496
1930 8,053
1950 8,423
1960 8,792
1970 10,020
1980 9,529
1985 9,783
1990 10,452
2000 12,421
2005 13,365
2007 13,768


Einsiedeln is a terminal station of the Zürich S-Bahn
Zürich S-Bahn
The Zurich S-Bahn system is a network of rapid transit rail lines that has been incrementally expanded to cover the ZVV area, which comprises the entire canton of Zurich and portions of neighboring cantons The Zurich S-Bahn system is a network of rapid transit rail lines that has been...

 on the lines S13
S13 (ZVV)
The S13 is a regional railway line of the S-Bahn Zürich on the Zürcher Verkehrsverbund , Zürich transportation network, in the cantons of Schwyz and Zürich.- Route :...

 and S40
S40 (ZVV)
The S40 is a regional railway line of the S-Bahn Zürich on the Zürcher Verkehrsverbund , Zürich transportation network, in the cantons of Schwyz, St...

, provided by the Südostbahn
The Südostbahn – commonly abbreviated to SOB – is a railway company and network in Switzerland.- Structure :...



Einsiedeln has an average of 156.7 days of rain per year and on average receives 1753 mm (69 in) of precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

. The wettest month is June during which time Einsiedeln receives an average of 206 mm (8.1 in) of precipitation. During this month there is precipitation for an average of 15.3 days. The month with the most days of precipitation is May, with an average of 15.3, but with only 158 mm (6.2 in) of precipitation. The driest month of the year is February with an average of 108 mm (4.3 in) of precipitation over 15.3 days.


The village of Einsiedeln is a popular tourist destination in central Switzerland. The Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

 Einsiedeln Abbey, located within the village, is considered one of the most important Roman Catholic pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith...

 sites in Europe and is called "the most important place of pilgrimage dedicated to the Virgin Mary
Mary (mother of Jesus)
Mary , commonly referred to as "Saint Mary", "Mother Mary", the "Virgin Mary", the "Blessed Virgin Mary", or "Mary, Mother of God", was a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee...

 in Switzerland". In addition to the Abbey, Einsiedeln is also a popular destination for sports year round. The village has 3 ski areas which include lifts as well as ski jumps.

Since the Middle Ages the Graces Chapel and a statue of the Black Madonna have been the centerpiece of the pilgrimage. The statue is so famous that a copy can also be seen in the French Jura
Jura mountains
The Jura Mountains are a small mountain range located north of the Alps, separating the Rhine and Rhone rivers and forming part of the watershed of each...

 town of Pontarlier
Pontarlier is a commune and one of the two sub-prefectures of the Doubs department in the Franche-Comté region in eastern France.-History:...

. Between 150,000 and 200,000 pilgrims visit the Graces Chapel each year.

Besides being a site for pilgrimages, Einsiedeln is a tourist destination for those interested in winter sports. The village has its own ski jump, ski lift
Ski lift
The term ski lift generally refers to any transport device that carries skiers up a hill. A ski lift may fall into one of the following three main classes:-Lift systems and networks:...

s, ski tow
Ski tow
thumb|right|A rope tow or ski tow.A ski tow, also called rope tow or handle tow, is a mechanised system for pulling skiers and snowboarders uphill....

s and winter sports centres, which are in the nearly area Hoch-Ybrig and Brunni.

The nearby reservoir, Sihlsee, is used in summer for swimming, surfing and sailing, and in the winter for ice-skating. The dam, which retains the lake, produces electricity for the trains and protects the city of Zurich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

 further down the valley from the flood of the Sihl
The Sihl is a river of Switzerland. It rises at Drusberg in the Canton of Schwyz. It passes through the Sihlsee near Einsiedeln, and then enters the Canton of Zurich, flowing through the Sihl valley at the foot of the Albis, passing the Sihlwald, the largest remaining deciduous forest of the Swiss...


These days, fewer pilgrims come to Einsiedeln. For that reason, some of the former hotels have now closed. At the same time, the village has experienced a boom with day tourists, owing to the clear air and mountain views. Because of the high quality of life locally, the population is growing faster than is normal in Switzerland.

Famous people from Einsiedeln

  • Paracelsus
    Paracelsus was a German-Swiss Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and general occultist....

  • Andreas Küttel
    Andreas Küttel
    Andreas Küttel is a Swiss ski jumper.He grew up in Einsiedeln and is still living there. He won the World Cup competitions on 3 December 2005 in Lillehammer and on 9 December 2005 in Harrachov and placed third in the overall championship...

    , (born 25 April 1979) ski jumper.
  • Meinrad Lienert
    Meinrad Lienert
    The Swiss writer Meinrad Lienert is most noted for his works in the Swiss German dialect. After finishing his studies of law, he became notary in his native town of Einsiedeln...

    , (1865–1933) Swiss writer

External links

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